Why does cancer spread to the spine? Newly discovered stem cells might be the key
In this episode:00:45 A new insight into cancers' selective spreadCancer cells can spread to bones in the late stages of disease and in many cancers, cells actually preferentially metastasise to the spine. The reason for this has been a puzzle to researchers for years, but now a team has found a new kind of stem cell that may be involved in this process. The stem cell is found in mice and humans and could represent a clinical target in the treatment of cancer.Research article: Sun et al.News and Views: Stem cells provide clues to why vertebrae attract tumour cells09:55 Research HighlightsA preference for certain percussion...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 20, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
A mussel-inspired glue for more sustainable sticking
In this episode:00:46 A sustainably-sourced, super-strong adhesiveThe modern world is held together by adhesives, but these fossil-fuel derived materials come at an environmental cost. To overcome this, a team have developed a soya-oil based adhesive, which also takes inspiration from the proteins that marine animals like mussels use to stick firmly to rocks. The researchers say their glue is strong, reversible, and less carbon intensive to produce than existing adhesives.Research article: Westerman et al.07:43 Research HighlightsWhy chemicals derived from wood could be sustainable alternatives to a common plastic building...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 13, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Our ancestors lost nearly 99% of their population, 900,000 years ago
In this episode:00:30 Early humans pushed to brink of extinctionAround 900,000 years ago the ancestors of modern humans were pushed to the brink of extinction, according to new research. Genetic studies suggest that the breeding population of our ancestors in Africa dropped to just 1,280 and didn’t expand again for another 117,000 years. This population crash would likely have had an impact on human genetic diversity, and may have driven the evolution of important features of modern humans, such as brain size.Nature News: Human ancestors nearly went extinct 900,000 years ago3:49 The pollution legacy of Antarctica’s res...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 6, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Physicists finally observe strange isotope Oxygen 28 – raising fundamental questions
In this episode:00:47 First observation of oxygen 28Oxygen 28 is an isotope of oxygen with 20 neutrons and eight protons. This strange isotope has long been sought after by physicists, as its proposed unusual properties would allow them to put their theories of how atomic nuclei work to the test. Now, after decades of experiments physicists believe they have observed oxygen 28. The observations are at odds with theory predictions, so they imply that there’s a lot more physicists don’t know about the forces that hold atomic nuclei together.Research article: Kondo et al.News and Views: Heaviest oxygen isotope is found to...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 30, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Audio long read: Medicine is plagued by untrustworthy clinical trials. How many studies are faked or flawed?
Investigations suggest that, in some fields, at least one-quarter of clinical trials might be problematic or even entirely made up. Faked or unreliable trials are dangerous, as they could end up being included in the reviews that help inform clinical treatments. However, the extent of the problem in unclear, and many researchers urge stronger scrutiny.This is an audio version of our Feature: Medicine is plagued by untrustworthy clinical trials. How many studies are faked or flawed? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - August 25, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Brain-reading implants turn thoughts into speech
In this episode:00:47 The brain-computer interfaces that help restore communicationPeople with certain neurological conditions can lose the ability to speak as a result of facial paralysis. This week, two teams demonstrate the potential of devices called brain-computer interfaces to help people in these situations communicate. These interfaces work by identifying the brain activity associated with the intent to say words, and converting this activity into speech-related outputs, such as text or audio. Both devices show marked improvements compared with previous interfaces, and show that the technology could represent a way...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 23, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Fruit flies' ability to sense magnetic fields thrown into doubt
In this episode:00:49 The search for animals’ magnetic sense sufferers a potential setbackExactly how animals sense Earth’s magnetic field has long eluded researchers. To understand it, many have turned to the fly model Drosophila melanogaster, long thought to be able to detect magnetic fields. However, a recent Nature paper has raised questions about this ability, a finding that could have repercussions for scientists’ efforts to understand the mechanism behind magnetic sensing, one of the biggest questions in sensory biology.Research article: Bassetto et al.News & Views: Replication study casts doubt on magneti...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 16, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Racism in health: the roots of the US Black maternal mortality crisis
A perfect storm of factors has led to huge racial disparities in maternal healthcare. In the USA, as abortion clinics continue to close, this inequity is projected to widen. In this podcast from Nature and ScientificAmerican, we hear from leading academics unpacking the racism at the heart of the system. From the historical links between slavery and gynaecology to the systematic erasure of America’s Black midwives. What is behind the Black maternal mortality crisis, and what needs to change?Read more of Nature's coverage of racism in science.Read full list of sources here Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for m...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 10, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
How welcome are refugees in Europe? A giant study has some answers
In this episode:00:46 A measure of refugees’ welcome in EuropeWith repeated humanitarian crises displacing millions of people, researchers have been considering how this might affect acceptance of refugees. Will some refugees be more welcome than others? Will continued movements erode support for refugees overall? To answer these questions, a huge study looks at the attitudes of 33,000 people from 15 European countries towards refugees. They find that overall support for refugees has slightly increased, although some characteristics, such as ability to speak the language of the country they’re settling in, are preferre...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 9, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
How to get more women in science, with Athene Donald
In the latest episode of Nature hits the books, physicist Athene Donald joins us to discuss her book Not just for the boys, why we need more women in science. We discuss how science has historically excluded women, the barriers to entry and retention that remain prevalent, and what could be done to improve the situation for female scientists today.Not Just for the Boys: Why We Need More Women in Science, Athene Donald, Oxford University Press (2023)Music supplied by Airae/Epidemic Sound/Getty images. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - August 2, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Audio long read: Lab mice go wild — making experiments more natural in order to decode the brain
Neuroscientists are creating more naturalistic experiments that they hope will provide a more nuanced understanding of animal — and human — behaviour.These set-ups differ from the classic laboratory experiments that have been used for decades, and may help in the understanding of behaviours such as escaping a predator or finding scarce food. By studying these natural actions, scientists are hoping to glean lessons about the brain and behaviour that are more holistic and more relevant to everyday activity than ever before.This is an audio version of our Feature: Lab mice go wild: making experiments more natural in order...
Source: Nature Podcast - July 31, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Facebook ‘echo chamber’ has little impact on polarized views, according to study
In this episode:How tweaking social media algorithms affects polarizationSocieties are becoming increasingly polarized, with people reportedly shunning those with differing political views. Social media is often thought to be exacerbating these divides, by creating echo chambers and filtering out dissimilar views. Many hoped that tweaking the algorithms that drive these platforms could reduce polarization. But, a group of studies show that such changes have little to no affect on polarization, implying that solutions to this issue are trickier than previously thought.Research Article: Nyhan et al.News and Views: Influence ...
Source: Nature Podcast - July 27, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
AI-enhanced night-vision lets users see in the dark
In this episode:00:46 How to see in the dark like it’s daytimeThere are many methods for better night-vision, but often these rely on enhancing light, which may not be present, or using devices which can interfere with one another. One alternative solution is to use heat, but such infrared sensors struggle to distinguish between different objects. To overcome this, researchers have now combined such sensors with machine learning algorithms to make a system that grants day-like night-vision. They hope it will be useful in technologies such as self-driving cars.Research article: Bao et al.News and Views: Heat-assisted imag...
Source: Nature Podcast - July 26, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
Disrupting snail food-chain curbs parasitic disease in Senegal
In this episode:00:45 A sustainable solution for schistosomiasis controlSchistosomiasis is a serious parasitic disease that affects millions of people, who become infected when they come into contact with contaminated water. To prevent the spread and reinfection of this disease, researchers trialled an environmental intervention that removed plants from lakes in Senegal. These plants act as food for freshwater snails – intermediate hosts for the disease. Results showed that this reduced disease levels, and that the plants could be composted to increase agricultural yields, suggesting this approach could be used to improv...
Source: Nature Podcast - July 19, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts
ChatGPT can write a paper in an hour — but there are downsides
In this episode:00:23 Using ChatGPT to generate a research paper from scratchA pair of scientists have produced a research paper in less than an hour with the help of the generative artificial intelligence (AI) ChatGPT. The aim of this exercise was to explore the technology’s ability to act as a research ‘co-pilot’ and spark debate about its use. While AI tools like ChatGPT have the potential to speed up research, it is still unclear what role they should play in research.Nature News: Scientists used ChatGPT to generate an entire paper from scratch — but is it any good?06:28 Last week saw the world’s hottest day ...
Source: Nature Podcast - July 12, 2023 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts